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… has been found dead in a midtown Manhattan hotel under odd circumstances — maybe suicide, maybe an assignation gone wrong… or maybe natural causes:

Detectives were treating Richard Descoings’ death as suspicious after finding his cellphone on a third-floor landing as if “it had been flung out the window,” a police source said.

Descoings, director of the prestigious Institute of Political Studies in Paris, was found dead about 1 p.m. in his seventh-floor room at the Michelangelo Hotel.

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Update: The clues (if they’re reliable; it’s still early in the story) point to suicide. Friends have apparently told police Descoings was depressed; empty liquor bottles and anti-depressant pills were found in the room. No marks of trauma were on the body. Someone had hurled his laptop and cell phone out of the room, onto an exterior landing.

One possible sequence of events: Suicidal, but not wishing to kill himself at home, in France, he determined to wait until he was in a hotel room (it’s not uncommon for suicidal people to choose hotels – hotels are anonymous, and you spare the people who live with you the trauma of discovering your body). He drank a lot of liquor (alcohol for that matter may have been a factor in his depression), maybe took a bunch of pills… In a kind of rage, or in despair, he threw, as it were, his life away – the laptop, the phone – and then lay down.

This would explain his condition when hotel security came to check on him on the morning he was supposed to appear at a conference. Colleagues, concerned that he hadn’t shown up, contacted the hotel. Hotel personnel said they heard him snoring.

Some time later, they checked again, and found him dead.

Pure speculation, of course – but, again, if the clues are correct, it’s a possibility.

There are also reports that he had visitors to his room that night. So something very different might have happened.

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2 Responses to “Richard Descoings, a prominent French political scientist…”

  1. DM Says:

    (Ditto as in another message.)

    As far as I know, Mr Descoings is not a political scientist — neither is he an academic, and in fact he does not hold a doctorate. He is a career high-level civil servant with an interest in education, and head of an institute.

  2. DM Says:

    (He was, I mean, but talking of the professional activities of the recently dead in the past tense somehow seems sinister.)

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